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Ukrainian Railways (UR), the national rail operator of Ukraine, has issued a tender for 44 sleeper coaches to be delivered by 2025. 

The estimated cost of the specialist passenger rail coaches for overnight transport is $52.8m, encompassing 20 “compartment” units, nine “first class” units and at least three with disabled passenger access. 

This is crucial to maintain the company’s liquidity, restore enemy-damaged infrastructure

Anton Mishyn, UR

All the units must be fitted with vacuum toilets, baby changing tables, sockets, USB charging, information screens and coffee makers, according to UR. 

UR said the 44 units, which will include nine to be kept in reserve, will be used to improve the Night Express services. 

The tender process comes several months after the European Investment Bank granted €6.7m ($6.6m) to UR to “cover the most urgent needs of Ukraine’s only railway company, which is keeping the country’s economy and people moving amid a brutal second year of war.” 

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By GlobalData

Anton Mishyn, a member of the board of Ukrainian Railways, said: “The support from our partners for Ukrainian Railways and Ukrainians is more important than ever. We appreciate the European Union’s and the European Investment Bank’s prompt response to our needs.

“This is crucial to maintain the company’s liquidity, restore enemy-damaged infrastructure and ensure the sustainable operation of the railways. We believe in our joint victory and expect to see a number of new integration infrastructure projects.”

Ukraine’s railways have been at the forefront of the country’s resistance to Russia’s full-scale invasion of 2022. The network was utilised to move refugees from near the front line at the beginning of the invasion and its infrastructure has been targeted by Russian and Russian-backed forces. 

While transport infrastructure is not automatically ruled to be civilian infrastructure by the UN and international laws of war and therefore not off-limits for military attacks, there have been recorded incidents of Russia targeting civilian rail. 

On April 8, 2022, a Tochka-U ballistic missile dropped cluster munitions on the rail station at Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk oblast.

At least 58 civilians were killed and more than 100 more injured in the illegal attack, according to international rights organisation Human Rights Watch